Dear Jill Scott,
I write this as an imperfect fan. I say imperfect because when I first got wind that you were the latest victim of the cyber crime being dubiously labeled as “The Fappening” I didn’t react the way a true fan should. Instead of righteous indignation at one of my favorite artists being put on front street against her will, I defaulted to the predictable, lustful and hopeful “Oh word?” Intellectually I knew that you’d been violated and if this had been my wife, sister or daughter I’d be livid. But as someone who has made public proclamations to how attracted I am to your words, sounds and visual presence, I wanted to see. I rationalized in my head that I just needed to verify if it was actually you, but we both know that’s bullsh*t. I WANTED it to be you. My body ignored what my mind said, so I clicked on the trending topic hashtag and waited for the images to populate my TL and let’s just say I’m still waiting for my eyes to re-focus. God is good.
You stood there draped in black lingerie holding your phone up to the mirror like so many other people populating tumblr right now. I’ve always admired your relatable and down to earth demeanor and this just confirmed what I’d already felt. You’re a thick girl from Philly who can sang her ass off and was taking a moment to admire her own physique. I let out an audible and appreciative “gotdamn” and kept scrolling to see what else was being said about the pictures, by you and others.
You tweeted that you were documenting your weight loss journey and as a man who had almost exclusively dated in the plus-sized demo I totally understood. You wrote, “I love and appreciate my body. My style has always been graceful. Love Village I see you and feel you too.”
If anything did manage to upset me it was the responses by some folks—male and female—who sought to tear you down. I’ve already established that I don’t have a moral leg to stand on but it didn’t stop me from being upset about it. I am not tolerant of Jill Scott slander. At all. And the self-hate I witnessed in regards to your photo hurt my heart. I think as humans we fight for the things we like because if someone talks bad about what gives us joy it’s like a judgement on us. However, you addressed the hate with more dignity and calm than I could muster under similar circumstances.
“I will not be bowed. I have earned every inch of my life. What u see, you can not touch & if it’s not ❤️ & understanding-”
But my anger was supplanted by a new and less emotionally-driven discomfort. I wondered if the FBI would come to your defense. I wondered if the Twitter accounts of those who had shared the pic would be closed as had been done with other celebrities. I have engaged in open discussions about the respectability politics being employed throughout reportage of this crime. It appears that only a certain type of woman who falls within margins of decency is worth defending. And while I acknowledge that the scale of this unlawful act makes it newsworthy, I can’t overlook the double standard in coverage. So now that we have a woman being mistreated who has by most accounts lived a scandal-free existence, is unapologetically sexual while being nothing short of elegant, what will we and THEY do?
I’m not going to wait on the pundits at Huffington Post et al. We should stand-up for you, Jill and all of the victims of this crime with the same zeal. Jill’s privacy is our privacy and I feel a kinship with her probably more than anyone who has been mentioned thus far.
I hope I have the courage to publish this because I know that I was wrong for looking. But if only those who never did anything wrong spoke up the silence would be deafening.
fan man, but a fan nonetheless…